The Price of Pleasure

 
A Hunger Like No Other
by Kresley Cole
(Pocket, $6.99, R) ISBN 1-4165-0897-9
****
Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other features a cover with a spiky-haired man who looks like he’s about to bite the neck of an anemic-looking woman. Going by covers alone, this is not a book I would have picked up. If you have the same reaction to the cover, don’t let it fool you. This paranormal romance is hot, distinctive, and perfect for spring reading.

Lykae Lachlain MacRieve has been held and tortured by vampires for more than a hundred years when he smells the scent of his mate, “one woman made for him alone.” Unguarded for the moment, Lachlain breaks free of his chains, makes his way to Paris, only to find he’s lost the scent. But that doesn’t stop him from continuing the search. He finds her again in Emmaline Troy, but he is horrified to discover that she is a vampire.

What Lachlain doesn’t know is that Emma is half-vampire, half-Valkyrie. She’s also terrified to find herself kidnapped by a brogue-speaking Lykae who has a grudge against vampires but won’t let her go. Even as Lachlain tells Emma she’s not his mate, he takes her back to his ancestral home and plans to keep her there.

A Hunger Like No Other works surprisingly well for a story with a brusque hero who initially intimidates and lies to the heroine. It works partly because Lachlain is a truly tortured hero. It’s not surprising that a werewolf would have a hard time adjusting to life after repeated bouts of torture.

Although this reviewer isn’t usually fond of the “mates” idea that is often used in paranormal romance, this philosophy is used as a starting point in this book instead of as a crutch. Cole doesn’t take the easy path of saying that since Emma is Lachlain’s mate, love is automatic.

Instead, readers enjoy watching the process - first, Lachlain is unhappy about the fact that a vampire could be the woman for him. It takes time for him to care for her because of who she is rather than despite it, and the transformation is fascinating to read. For example, at first he is angered when he sees Emma cries pink tears; for him, they represent all that he hates about vampires. Eventually, he comes to accept them simply as part of who she is.

Emma also grows throughout the story, transforming from someone who is passive and afraid to a woman who discovers her own strength and ultimately gives as good as she gets.

A Hunger Like No Other succeeds because it takes risks, and those risks result in a compelling romance like no other.

--Alyssa Hurzeler


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